D&D 5e: Coral Gear

Leave a comment

These were taken from the Planescape Doors to the Unknown module, where they were given much shorter descriptions and intended to quickly die off. But several of my players are into creepy body horror bioware and one is playing a Great Old One warlock, so I went ahead and expanded the descriptions to figure out how to keep them alive and give them more versatility. Taken all together, they paint a lovely picture of gear for a sahuagin or deep one assassin/infiltrator.

Not actually magical, these items are composed of a steel-hard shell of colorful coral with an internal biological system that can sprout cilia, crawl somewhat into position, and attach to a living host. They derive most nutrition from this symbiotic relationship, though the host and coral will be healthier with regular intake of seafood. They will also slowly deteriorate if not soaked in seawater for at least an hour a week (a soaked rag placed around the item will do), or periodically fed powdered limestone (or similar material like pearls). If damaged, they heal naturally with their host (undoing the broken condition after a long rest). They can be magically enchanted like the items that they are (though they would lose the enchantments if allowed to die). Their lifespan is unknown.

They can be coaxed to detach from a host with brimstone-based smelling salts, but otherwise must be violently ripped or cut free, dealing major damage to the host (and likely killing the item).

Carapace Breastplate

This large shell wraps the entire torso and shoulders in a thin and articulated but dense shell.

It functions as breastplate armor with no effective weight/encumbrance. It can be worn under clothes (though likely of a larger size than normally required).

If soaked in a solution of various expensive poisons carefully and gradually, it might develop an immunity to toxins that it can pass to its host, granting advantage on poison saves (from poison-coated weapons) and resistance to poison damage.

Claw Grapple

This item is an articulated three-fingered claw attached to a flexible, ropelike tendril. The rope attaches to the back of the wrist then compresses when not in use, the claw laying against the back of the hand. This can make bracers or the equivalent uncomfortable, but does not interfere with shields.

It can be launched to grab protrusions up to ten feet away. This can be used to snag small items at this range or to latch onto the object to yank or swing (and might require an attack roll to target, at the GM’s option). You have advantage on climbing checks and cannot fall more than ten feet (this may not be possible if the surface is extremely smooth and there are no possible grapple holds within range). You can make a grapple check at its range, though it simply tethers you to the target rather than restraining the target (the grapple releases normally with a contested grapple check, or if the target deals 4 or more damage to the rope, giving it the broken condition).

If carefully built up with a paste of high-quality pearls, the claws might be extended long enough that they can be used as a punch dagger, as needed, including striking at the grapple’s range.

Face Shell

This item is a smooth, blank shell the perfect shape to fit over a humanoid’s face and, in fact, happily binds itself like a mask if so placed. The host does not have any problem seeing or breathing, but needs to remove the shell to eat. Unlike the other devices, it seems a little easier to coax into releasing so its host can consume food, and can even be trained to move to sit on a shoulder when not in use as a mask.

The shell grants you darkvision to 30 feet, or 120 feet in saltwater. Additionally, it allows you to breathe water (or air, if you normally breathe water). Finally, it filters inhaled toxins, giving you advantage on saving throws against inhaled poisons or airborne diseases. However, due to its unnerving blank visage (the only sign of the eyes are slightly more vivid circles of color), you have disadvantage on any Charisma checks relying on generating positive feelings (e.g., intimidation is not affected).

A potentially unnerving feature of the shell is that it could be placed on the face of a corpse submerged in seawater and powdered hermit crab shells, gradually turning into a death mask of the subject as the body decays. You subsequently gain advantage on Charisma (Deception) rolls and similar rolls to masquerade as the subject using disguise self, alter self, or similar form-concealing magic. The mask helps mimic the subject’s voice and mannerisms. It can only retain one such subject at a time.

Mantis Blade

When detached, this looks like a long, thin sword blade. It can be attached behind the wrist, at which point it hinges back when not in use, resting against the back of the forearm. This makes it challenging to wear anything else on that arm, such as a bracer, shield, or even tight sleeves.

It functions as a rapier (but can instead act as a shortsword if you are not proficient in rapier or want to use it as an offhand weapon). It also works as a prybar, and has enough dexterity to be bent as desired to manipulate objects as would make sense for its structure.

If soaked in a bath of seawater and powdered silver, iron, or adamantine, it could conceivably take enough of those metals in to strike creatures harmed only by those materials as if made of that material.

Reservoir Valve

This item is a roughly cylindrical shell around the size of a large man’s fist. When attached, it flattens somewhat and tries to find a location on the back where it will not be an impediment.

The valve contains a naturally-generated healing potion. It can contain one charge at a time, and regains this charge when you take a long rest that you begin with both full hp and hit dice (i.e., it absorbs your unneeded natural healing). It can also have a charge restored by casting two levels of healing magic into it (e.g., either two first-level cure wounds or one cast at second-level). You can expend the charge as a bonus action to have it inject you with the potion so you heal 2d4+2 hp. Additionally, if you are reduced to 0 hp, the valve automatically expends its charge, if available, to heal you at the beginning of your next turn, before you have to make a death saving throw.

If bathed in a solution of several higher-powered healing potions as well as a high-quality oceanic chemicals, it might have the power of its healing solution improved to more closely mimic these better potions.

D&D 5e: Average Treasure Hoards

Leave a comment

Page 133 of the 5e DMG suggests that a typical campaign* awards seven 0-4 hoards, eighteen 5-10 hoards, twelve 11-16 hoards, and eight 17+ hoards. I made a big spreadsheet and figured out what the average results of those tables look like, all added together:

CR Individual Award (per creature) Total GP Value of Cash, Gems, and Art Magic Item Table Rolls
0-4 5 gp 2,630 A x 6, B x 3, C x 2, F x 2
5-10 93 gp 81,797 A x 10, B x 9, C x 5, D x 1, F x 6, G x 2
11-16 947 gp 434,550 A x 4, B x 6, C x 9, D x 5, E x 1, F x 1, G x 2, H x 3, I x 1
17+ 8,470 gp 2,688,200 C x 4, D x 9, E x 6, G x 1, H x 2, I x 4

 

For reference, after all the hoards are awarded (and not counting the pocket change of individual awards) I got a total of 3,207,177.30 GP plus 104 items. The vast majority of the money comes from 17+ hoards, and there are only 46 items found in the first two sets of hoards (and most of it is from tables that primarily award potions and scrolls).

While I’m sure a lot of GMs enjoy rolling up loot at the table, I’m more methodical and also know that I will totally forget to give out sufficient** treasure if I don’t have a plan up front to award it.

For my games, I’m basically chopping this up into 8-13 packages per tier, making sure to give out at least one item in each package, and randomizing the distribution of the GP value a bit. Then, when I decide what each package makes sense for I split up the value into art, gems, and cash (e.g., a goblin hoard might be a ton of copper and silver, an elemental will be all gems, and humanoids with neat nonmagical gear will have that taken out of the budget as “art”). I’m also pre-rolling the items, so I also try to assign the containing package to an encounter that would make sense to have that particular item.

You could obviously also totally divorce the items from the value packages, and sometimes give out multiple items with little or no cash, and sometimes just nonmagical items of value.

 

* I assume this is for four PCs. Presumably you should raise the total by 25% for five, 50% for six, etc.

** Not that 5e really seems to care if you get anywhere close to the normal distribution.

Planescape in 5e: Special Features, Keywords

Leave a comment

  • Bright: This item sheds light at the brightness of a torch (though it is white, unwavering light). If the item would already shed light, its brightness is doubled.
  • Cold: This item remains a pleasant temperature in extreme cold, and will not become brittle or accumulate ice and frost. It doesn’t protect the bearer from the cold, but at least remains usable in a blizzard.
  • Corrosive: This item is resistant to harm from acid or other sources of corrosion, and will likely even remain intact if its bearer is disintegrated.
  • Cutting: This item is resistant to slashing damage (it doesn’t pass the resistance to the bearer, but is very difficult to cut or sunder). If it is a blade, the edge is extremely difficult to dull.
  • Dark: This item is virtually invisible in the darkness, granting advantage to hide it (and advantage to Dexterity (Stealth) checks in the dark if it is a suit of armor or clothing). If you are attuned to the item, you can see it clearly in the dark (even in supernatural darkness).
  • Energetic: This item never builds up a static charge, and tends to be impervious to Lightning damage (causing it to safely flow around the item). If it is armor, a wielded weapon, or other large item, you may add +1d4 to your saving throws to avoid Lightning damage.
  • Hot: This item cannot be damaged or destroyed by anything less than the most extreme heat or fire. It doesn’t pass this immunity on to the bearer, but at least it will survive the firestorm intact. It never becomes uncomfortably warm, including ignoring the effects of heat metal if directed at the item.
  • Invisible: This item fades to translucency at the wielder’s desire, granting you advantage on attempts to conceal or hide it. If you become invisible, the item remains invisible even if you briefly lose control of it (though you retain an intuition about its location to enable you to retrieve it).
  • Mental: This item is keyed to the wielder’s mental desires. Any powers it possesses that would normally be activated with a word may instead be activated silently. Some may activate when you need them, even if you do not consciously activate them.
  • Penetrating: This item is unusually dense, making it resistant to attempts to rip or puncture it. It is it armor, attacks that would normally bypass it must instead attack normally.
  • Smashing: This item is very sturdy, and resists attempts to crush it or break it through pure force. If it is a container, its contents are twice as likely to survive impacts or falls.
  • Sonic: This item has a flat audio resonance. Unless it is a musical instrument, it makes very little noise when struck, and is immune to Thunder damage.
  • Toxic: This item absorbs poisons. If you use it to aid in harvesting poison, there is no danger of accidentally poisoning yourself. If it is a weapon, any poison applied to it remains viable indefinitely (until it strikes an opponent).
  • Bestial: Unintelligent animals somehow comprehend the usefulness of this item. If you affix it to an animal, it will retain it if reasonable rather than reflexively trying to scrape it off. If the animal has the required dexterity, it may even use it appropriately (e.g., an ape using a weapon in combat).
  • Colorful: This item is an ideal anchor point for visual illusions. Illusions that cannot normally move can be attached to it, moving as you move the item. If deliberately incorporated into the illusion, some parts of it may be static while others move along with the item (e.g., using minor illusion to create an unmoving rock and waving grass).
  • Confining: This item is always subject to freedom of movement. It doesn’t pass this effect onto the wielder, but means that the item can never become stuck, trapped, or bound in a way that you cannot simply pull it free.
  • Disjointed: This item always teleports with its owner if it is close to hand. If it’s within ten feet of you when you are teleported, it appears at your feet wherever you land. It will even travel with you if the mode of transport normally will not include items.
  • Fluid: This item attracts condensation. This means that it is usually slightly damp. But, if left overnight in a watertight container (e.g., a pot or bucket), it generates a day’s worth of drinking water for you in all but the most arid environments.
  • Metallic: This item emits an aura that resonates with nearby metals, causing it to have a tactile hum that changes based on their presence or absence. This grants you advantage on rolls to detect hidden metal objects (e.g., traps, treasure, ore veins, etc.).
  • Motive: This item is sensitive to the intentions of its wielder when it comes to motion. You have advantage on attempts to resist being disarmed of the item. All ranges are doubled when you throw it or use it to launch projectiles.
  • Mystic: This item is easy to understand, mystically, revealing all its powers and abilities through simple inspection during a rest. However, it does not reveal its aura when subjected to detect magic or similar powers from anyone but its wielder. It shines like a beacon to detect magic, however, if it is not currently wielded, eager to be used.
  • Prophetic: This item is more likely than most to be included in prophecies (if only as a significant clue to the identity of the wielder within the prophecy). If you are attuned to it, you may automatically recognize it when it is mentioned in a prophecy or in the histories (including legend lore).
  • Protective: This item’s other defensive powers are likely to be slightly enhanced. Once per day, you may spend Inspiration to take no damage from an attack or effect from a spell that could plausibly harmlessly strike the item instead of you.
  • Restoring: This item makes it easier for the wielder to heal. Once per day, whenever dice are rolled to restore your hit points, you may choose to reroll the lowest die and keep the new result if it is higher.
  • Stonelike: This item resists petrification. It always retains its form, even if its wielder is turned to stone. If trapped by stone (e.g., held by a petrified former owner, pinned in a cave-in, clutched by an earth elemental, etc.) it is easy to withdraw and unlikely to damage the stone in the attempt.
  • Tempestuous: This item is always surrounded by an aura of clean, breathable air. This can be used by the wielder to survive underwater, in the void, or when in an area where the air is toxic or diseased.
  • Transforming: This item resizes itself to fit a wielder of any size, and automatically transforms into a viable form if the wielder changes shape (which may include simply fading into the transformation if the form is such that the item cannot reasonably be used).
  • Wooden: This item cannot be lost in the midst of floral growth. Even fast-growing plants will grow around it or lift it to the surface of the bloom (rather than encasing it in vines and roots). If it is a weapon, it never becomes stuck when chopping wood or attacking plant creatures.
  • Chaotic: This item is confusing for the ordered mind. A non-chaotic character is subjected to the confusion spell upon attempting to wield or use it (saving throw DC 10 for a Common item, +2 for each rarity, up to DC 18 for a Legendary item); non-lawful characters have advantage on this saving throw. This effect can trigger once per day per character, the first time the character attempts to wield or use the item.
  • Evil: This item whispers dark impulses to the wielder in moments with the capacity for greatest harm. Once per day, the wielder is subjected to the command spell in a moment where a single word action could do the most harm (e.g., “slay,” “attack,” “lie,” etc.). The saving throw DC is 10 for a Common item, +2 for each rarity, up to DC 18 for a Legendary item. Non-good characters are not exempted from this effect, but are more likely to be commanded to do things they wanted to do anyway.
  • Good: This item attempts to prevent the negative emotions that lead to evil. Once per day, whenever the wielder feels or is subjected to a strong negative emotion (e.g., hatred, lust, rage, despair, revulsion, contempt, etc.), the item casts calm emotions on the wielder only. The saving throw DC is 10 for a Common item, +2 for each rarity, up to DC 18 for a Legendary item. Non-evil characters are not exempted from this effect, but likely feel the targeted emotions less often than those with darker impulses.
  • Lawful: This item requires an orderly, ritualized series of steps to wield that are difficult for those of a less rational bent. Upon first wielding the item (and after each long rest while continuing to wield the item), non-lawful characters must make an Intelligence (Arcana or Religion) check, with failure causing the item to act as if it were non-magical for the character until the next attempt (though retaining any magical drawbacks). Non-chaotic characters have advantage on this check. The check DC is 12 for a Common item, +2 for each rarity, up to DC 20 for a Legendary item.

Planescape in 5e: Special Features, Other Planes

Leave a comment

  • Elemental Air: This item is almost invisible, woven of frozen air currents that flicker with subtle mists and electricity. Its weight is negligible, adding no encumbrance, but it might also be blown away in a stiff breeze if not firmly held or stowed. This lightness somehow doesn’t limit its effectiveness as arms or armor. This item also usually has the Tempestuous keyword.
  • Elemental Darkness (Negative): This item is perfectly black, absorbing all light, making it difficult to truly gauge its shape except by feel. Living characters that wield it lose one healing surge after a long rest. The first time you are struck by Radiant damage each day, you act as if you had resistance (as the item absorbs some of the energy). This item also usually has the Dark keyword.
  • Elemental Earth: This item is entirely made from metal, gems, and stone. When set upon the earth (or a stone embedded in the earth) it will not move from its position without great effort (Strength (Athletics) DC 15) unless you choose to pick it up again. This item also usually has the Stonelike keyword.
  • Elemental Fire: This item seems to be made from congealed fire, somehow given permanent physical form. It is always slightly warm, which can be helpful in a dangerously cold environment. This item also usually has the Hot keyword.
  • Elemental Radiance (Positive): This item is perfectly mirrored, reflecting all light that touches it. Undead characters that wield it suffer a point of Radiant damage each minute. Living characters that wield it gain an additional +1 HP for each die of healing they receive. This item also usually has the Bright keyword.
  • Elemental Water: This item seems carved out of ice, though it is only slightly cold. It floats in water as if it was made of wood, unless you are deliberately swimming beneath the surface (in which case, it floats at about your level within the deeps). This item also usually has the Fluid keyword.
  • Paraelemental: This item appears to be a strange hybrid of two materials based on which paraelemental plane produced it. It demonstrates whichever ability is most applicable to the current situation, but likely also suffers some unexpected drawback from the combination of elements.
  • Quasielemental: This item appears to be a brighter or darker version of its core element. It has the powers and drawbacks of items from either realm.
  • Astral: This item seems to be woven through with faint silver threads and, when looked at in the correct state of mind, only the threads seem truly real, the rest merely an illusion strung between them. You retain this item even when having an out-of-body experience, and it may be wielded by or used to strike creatures of pure thought. This item also usually has the Mental keyword.
  • Ethereal: This item seems slightly immaterial, hinting at translucency, its interior a flowing mist. It is able to be used/carried/worn by beings that are incorporeal, and has no difficulty striking them.
  • Ravenloft (Ethereal): This item likely carries a Baroque flair to its design, hinting at a culture with a strangely deep artistic tradition. While wielding this item, if you are about to commit a deeply evil action—or sometimes about to start down that path with something that seems to have good, but flawed, intentions—you can feel the attention of vast powers regarding you with anticipation.
  • Feywild: This item has no ferrous components, and it is made entirely from nigh-eternal materials that resist corrosion and decay. It has resistance against acid damage and other attacks that seek to unmake it with decay.
  • Beyond: This item doesn’t seem to use a standard geometry in its construction, all curves and hints at additional dimensions, made of materials that aren’t quite natural to any known realms. Powers and Proxies of the Great Wheel have a hard time even seeing it, granting advantage on rolls to conceal it from gods, celestials, or fiends.
  • Athas (Dark Sun) (Prime): This item is made without metal, replacing normal metal elements with bone, stone, or crystal. It maintains its magical nature by slowly draining the life from nearby plants, and dangerous plants will usually avoid you while you wield it.
  • Khorvaire (Eberron) (Prime): This item appears too-well-made, as if mass-produced by purpose-built machinery. It may feature subtle mechanisms beyond the technology level of most worlds. It slowly repairs itself if broken, and attempts to speed the process of mending have advantage.
  • Krynn (Dragonlance) (Prime): This item is likely illustrated with symbols of dragons and white, red, and black moons and any components that should be steel are instead iron or other metals. The item seems attuned to tidal forces, making it easy for you to, with some practice, sense the rough time of day and phase of the moon.
  • Oerth (Greyhawk) (Prime): This item seems like a real classic, well-but-simply made out of durable materials that keep their shine and luster. If used conspicuously in your adventures, it quickly finds itself becoming a significant element in your personal legend and may gradually accrue heroic powers from this acclaim.
  • Toril (Forgotten Realms) (Prime): This item appears to be an exemplar of its form, as if an illustration of the item was brought to life. Having lived through multiple magical upheavals, this item continues to have its same abilities even on planes with unusual rules for magic.

Planescape in 5e: Special Features, Outer Planes

Leave a comment

Items tend to have special features, one per keyword, when they do not have an actual special power for that keyword. These replace or supplement the special features starting on page 141 of the DMG. The features may not function when on a plane without the associated keyword, at the GM’s option.

  • Abyss (C E): This item’s edges are essentially fractal, infinitely complex the closer you look. It tends to buzz angrily in the presence of lawful Proxies, particularly devils. This item also usually has the Chaotic and Evil keywords.
  • Acheron (L E/N): This item’s appearance is geometric, likely divided into squares and cubes. It is surprisingly easy to carry on campaign, generating half the encumbrance its weight would otherwise specify. This item also usually has the Lawful keyword.
  • Arborea (C G): This item is made of bronze, brass, and natural materials that have not been heavily worked, and it is slightly larger than other examples of its kind. If lost, it will eventually find its way back to you if you have used it for great deeds. This item also usually has the Chaotic and Good keywords.
  • Arcadia (L G/N): This item is a statistically average (though high-quality) example of its form, not exceeding normal tolerances for dimensions or using flashy patterns. It resists being hidden by illusion, always looking like itself no matter the magical disguise, and it remains stubbornly visible even if you are invisible. This item also usually has the Lawful keyword.
  • Baator (Hell) (L E): This item is black and red in color, made of materials that naturally have these colors. It cannot be stolen from its owner, whether by dexterity or legal trickery. As long as you live, you must drop it through true accident or deliberately transfer ownership to lose it. This item also usually has the Lawful and Evil keywords.
  • Beastlands (N/C G): This item is made as much as possible of ostentatious furred leathers. While you carry it, animals are likely to treat you as an apex predator and avoid you or cower before you unless desperate or compelled. This item also usually has the Good keyword.
  • Bytopia (L/N G): This item is well-made and perfectly, perhaps ostentatiously, symmetrical, likely including patterns that are hard to mirror properly by inexperienced craftsmen. Damage that does not extend to both halves of the item will slowly fade as it returns to quality and symmetry. This item also usually has the Good keyword.
  • Carceri (C/N E): This item seems hastily created by repurposing some other item, filing it down and potentially affixing it to an unrelated object. You have advantage on checks to keep the item hidden. This item also usually has the Evil keyword.
  • Elysium (N G): This item has a nautical theme, likely incorporating motifs and materials used for sailing or found near the sea. When you are on a quest to accomplish a good deed, you and your allies travel to your destination 10% faster than you otherwise would. This item also usually has the Good keyword.
  • Gehenna (L/N E): This item’s hard surfaces are made of igneous rock and sharp, black obsidian, while its softer materials seem suffused with ash and soot that never cleans out but blackens the hands of wielders. If you present it, you gain advantage on Charisma checks to convince fiends to leave you alone, as it serves as a token of neutrality in the Blood War. This item also usually has the Evil keyword.
  • Gray Waste (N E): This item is dull gray in appearance, as if all its natural colors have washed out. You have advantage on saving throws to resist effects that try to cause emotions (including Charmed and Frightened), but you also have trouble feeling natural emotions while wielding the item. This item also usually has the Evil keyword.
  • Limbo (C N): This item never looks exactly the same twice, slowly flickering between examples of its form when no one is looking. If you suffer a Wild Magic Surge while wielding it, you may choose to flip the 10s and 1s digits to get a different result on the chart. If you are attuned, you may make a Charisma saving throw (DC 15) to call the item to your hand from anywhere within the same plane. This item also usually has the Chaotic keyword.
  • Mechanus (L N): This item appears to be a complicated mechanism that has been disconnected from its original machinery and frozen in its current function. Modrons may be able to incorporate it into their own bodies, and skilled mechanics might be able to unlock additional functions. This item also usually has the Lawful keyword.
  • Mount Celestia (L G): This item’s metals are silver and gold, while its other components are brightly colored. When wielded by someone Chaotic and/or Evil, its colors fade, but they shine brightly, giving off a faint but cheery light if you are Lawful Good. Those that can confirm the item’s provenance know that there is no way to fool its assessment of your morality. This item also usually has the Lawful and Good keywords.
  • Outlands (N N): This item seems well made, but is worn as if it has seen years of hard use and come through them still in perfect working order, merely comfortably broken in. When reality is against you, it will see you through; you gain a point of Inspiration when you enter an anti-magic area.
  • Pandemonium (C E/N): This item’s dimensions don’t quite add up, creating an unease in the viewer that only increases if it is carefully examined. Screaming faces sometimes appear in the material out of the corner of the viewer’s eye. No mental effects, be they compulsion or insanity, can make you forget that the item is yours, or give it away/discard it if you wouldn’t when in your right mind. This item also usually has the Chaotic keyword.
  • Ysgard (C G/N): This item is etched or woven with numerous runes speaking of its history and abilities, and it likely features rich-hued wood cut from the world tree in its construction. It takes you one minute less than normal to cast a Ritual when wielding the item. As a free action you may willingly take a point of damage (e.g., to prolong a Rage). This item also usually has the Chaotic keyword.
  • Sigil (Outlands): This item seems to have a slight tarnish or patina no matter how much you try to make it shine. If it is the key for a portal or gate, it will vibrate noticeably when brought within a few feet of the bounds of the doorway (as a warning you’re about to travel unexpectedly, or clue to where the doorway is).

Planescape in 5e: Resonance Keywords

1 Comment

This is an alternate way to capture the idea of magic items changing from plane to plane without simply tracing a path to the home plane and reducing the item’s bonus. I always liked the idea of magic items varying away from home, but the implementation was a lot of math for no real benefit to the player.

Each plane (or distinct realm within a plane) has a collection of up to half a dozen keywords. Magic items created in that location tend to acquire the same set of keywords. Additionally, spells have at least one keyword that is salient to the spell’s effect. Some special abilities may have similar resonance to equivalent spells.

Magic items may have special powers that are only active when in a plane/realm with matching keywords, or may just be more generally effective when more of the keywords match. This might be a specific ability mapped to a given keyword, or may be that certain powers are only active when specific keywords are active.

Spells are generally treated as being cast at +1 slot level if they have at least one matching keyword with the local plane/realm (e.g., fireball is always cast as at least a 4th level spell in a Hot realm).

Some spells or other magical effects may temporarily apply a keyword to a local area (e.g., the darkness spell might create the Dark keyword within its area).

Keywords

In addition to the keywords below, each plane is its own keyword name.

Energy

  • Bright (Radiant, Light, Sun)
  • Cold (Cold, Ice, slowing effects, winter)
  • Corrosive (Acid, disintegration)
  • Cutting (Slashing, effects that cause DoT)
  • Dark (Necrotic, Darkness, Night)
  • Energetic (Lightning, energy buffs)
  • Hot (Fire, heating effects, summer)
  • Invisible (Force, Invisibility)
  • Mental (Psychic, Mind-Affecting, Telepathic)
  • Penetrating (Piercing, effects that bypass defenses)
  • Smashing (Bludgeoning, effects that destroy objects)
  • Sonic (Thunder, sound illusions, silence)
  • Toxic (Poison, physical debuffs)

Misc

  • Bestial (Animal effects)
  • Colorful (Color effects, visual illusions)
  • Confining (restrictive/paralyzing effects)
  • Disjointed (teleportation effects)
  • Fluid (Water-related effects)
  • Metallic (Metal conjurations/transmutations)
  • Motive (Imbuing motion to things)
  • Mystic (meta-magical effects like anti-magic, detection, etc.)
  • Prophetic (many divinations)
  • Protective (defensive effects)
  • Restoring (Healing effects, restorations)
  • Stonelike (Stone/earth conjurations/transmutations)
  • Tempestuous (Air and storm-related effects)
  • Transforming (Physical transmutations)
  • Wooden (Wood/plant conjurations/transmutations)

Alignment

  • Chaotic
  • Evil (includes Evil spells like animating dead)
  • Good
  • Lawful

Known Realms

  • Sigil: Outlands, Confining, Cutting, Dark, Disjointed, Metallic

Example Item Resonance

  • Bag of Holding: If all keywords are matched, the bag only weighs 5 pounds. Each keyword not matched increases the weight by 5 pounds (up to 35 pounds in realms that don’t match at all).
  • Folding Boat: If no keywords are matched, this item cannot change from its current configuration. If two or more keywords are matched, it can become a small boat (or return to its collapsed configuration). Only if four or more keywords are matched can it expand into its vessel configuration.
  • Goggles of Night: The goggles grant Darkvision with a range of 30 feet plus 10 feet per matched keyword (e.g., up to 90 feet when six keywords are matched).
  • Immovable Rod: The rod can hold up to 6000 pounds of weight plus 1000 per matched keyword. The Strength check to move it is DC 26, +2 for each matched keyword.
  • Potion of Climbing (and others with a normal 1 hour duration): The potion lasts for 30 minutes, plus 10 minutes for each matched keyword.
  • Potion of Healing (and improved versions): The flat add of basic points of healing is equal to the number of keywords matched (e.g., heals 2d4+3 with three matched). This is multiplied for the improved potions (x2 for greater, x4 for superior, x10 for supreme).
  • Ring of Swimming: You have a swimming speed equal to 30 feet plus 5 feet per matched keyword (e.g., 60 feet with six matched keywords).
  • Weapon +1: This item retains its +1 bonus no matter how many keywords are matched. However, any special abilities may come and go based on the resonance.

D&D 5e: Treasure to XP Awards

Comments Off on D&D 5e: Treasure to XP Awards

I hadn’t gotten deep enough into running 5e until recently to really look that hard into the treasure system and was surprised to find that it’s extremely loose. For many that’s a feature, but if you’re like me and run games suffering under a constant anxiety that you’re giving out way more or less treasure than the system actually expects, this may help.

I pulled my figuring from the following sources:

The Overall Math

Xanathar’s suggests that PCs acquire around 75 gp per level at tier 1, 150 gp per level at tier 2, 550 gp per level at tier 3, and 5,500 gp per level at tier 4. This means that a PC has acquired around 26,000 gp in cash upon reaching 20th level. Meanwhile, the magic item accrual with arbitrary values from within the correct range suggests around 135,000 gp worth of magic items by 20th level. The total value of a 20th level character could be around 160,000 gp.

That is conveniently really close to half of the earned XP by that point.

If you really wanted to stick to the exact breakdowns per level, it varies up and down over time: for most of the mid-levels, wealth awarded is closer to 10% of XP earned, with a huge catchup towards 50% in tier 4. But, for a very quick and dirty rule of thumb:

Place about 1 gp worth of treasure for every 2 xp you place.

I’d suggest doing this as broadly as possible, rather than per encounter. Total up all the XP possible in a dungeon, or even a whole scenario, divide by 2, and then use that as your budget for placing treasure. Individual encounters may have pocket change, while most of the loot is in hoards in places that make sense, just like the DMG suggests. Importantly, this gives you more budget for buying rolls on the treasure tables.

(Or you can just use the DMG system and use this to sanity check what the tables are giving out to see if you need to give out more or slow down a little on hoards.)

Treasure Tables and Cash

Some of your treasure should be in the form of cash (or gems, art, and other resources which are easily converted to cash). Per each tier:

  1. Around 33%
  2. Around 40%
  3. Around 25%
  4. Around 15%

Whatever’s left over goes into items. You can spend this directly to buy items and place them as appropriate. But if you want to roll randomly using the treasure tables, you can use the following breakdown.

Table Value (gp)
Tier 1 Tier 2 Tier 3 Tier 4
A 100 50% 30% 13% 0%
B 700 22% 26% 18% 0%
C 1,200 7% 15% 28% 17%
D 2,000 0% 3% 15% 35%
E 4,500 0% 0% 3% 24%
F 6,000 18% 19% 3% 0%
G 12,000 2% 5% 8% 3%
H 40,000 0% 1% 9% 6%
I 60,000 0% 0% 3% 15%

For example, a roll on table C uses up 1,200 gp of your budget (which is the approximate average value of results on the table) and should make up around 15% of the treasure tables you give out at tier 2.

Table H and I are pretty spendy, due to having extremely valuable items on them. One roll on them could make up a substantial amount of the treasure awarded, even at high level. This is part of why the overall level ramps backload a lot of the treasure value toward very high level. I’d suggest just giving out a bit more treasure at high level, and a lot more if you go past 20 (but, then, if you’re planning to run a campaign that will be 20th level for more than a minute, I assume all balance concerns go out the window at that point anyway).

D&D 5e: Items of the Runelords

Comments Off on D&D 5e: Items of the Runelords

I converted a bunch of the gear my players had at the end of Rise of the Runelords for… reasons that may become apparent if I actually run the followup campaign I think I’m running soon.

Weapons

Koruvus’ Prize

Scimitar, rare

You gain a +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls with this silvered, magic weapon. It deals an additional 1d6 Radiant damage to Fiends. On a critical hit against a Fiend, you may immediately cast Banishment on that target as a bonus action with no components (the saving throw DC is based on your Charisma). Servants of Lamashtu have disadvantage on this saving throw.

This sword was an ancient human relic that was found by the goblin hero Koruvus and kept by him when he was corrupted by Lamashtu cultists. It was later wielded by a Varisian hero that used it to slay many fiends, awakening its nascent hatred of the breed. It glows in the presence of fiends and servants of Lamashtu, and stokes the wielder’s distaste for these targets.

Res Judicata

Longsword, very rare

You gain a +2 bonus to attack and damage rolls with this adamantine, magic weapon.

When you use an action to accuse a target that you can see of a crime, the blade ignites with cold blue flames that shed bright light in a 10-foot radius and dim light for an additional 10 feet. You must genuinely believe the target is guilty of the declared crimes, and that they are sufficient to demand maiming or death, or the flames will not ignite. The target gains an empathic sense of what she is being accused of, even if she does not understand the language you use to speak the crimes.

While the flames are active, the sword does an extra 2d6 radiant damage to this accused target. The flames go out after a single hit to the target if she truly believes herself to be innocent of the declared crimes. They also end upon killing the target, or when the blade is sheathed. You cannot strike to incapacitate when the flames are active: when a target is defeated by a strike from the blade, that defeat almost always means death.

If the target has been officially sentenced for the crimes you accuse her of, and that sentence carries the death penalty, damage from the blade ignores any of the target’s damage resistances and immunities.

This sword was originally created by the church of Aroden, passed to the Order of the Crux after His death, and was taken by the Order of the Scourge in the Chelish Civil War. It bears the eye of Aroden on its hilt. It may have a role yet to play in the saga of Aroden. The wielder always feels a vague sense of loss at the death of Aroden, or perhaps due to the fact that the sword bore other powers before His death that are no longer capable of being accessed through attunement.

Shadow’s Pain

Shortsword, rare (requires attunement)

You gain a +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls with this adamantine, magic weapon. You can cause it to become sheathed in barely-visible electricity; when active, whenever you hit with an attack, the target takes an extra 1d6 lightning damage. This electricity’s glow is not sufficient to cast visible light, but it extends the range of Darkvision by an additional 10 feet for anyone that has Darkvision and is within 10 feet of you.

This sword has a mostly-dormant Runeforged Sadistic enchantment. When you critically hit with an attack made with this weapon, any target currently protected by an Abjuration effect must make a Constitution saving throw (against a DC of 8 + Your Proficiency Bonus + Your Charisma Modifier) or be Stunned until the end of your next turn.

Crafted by a Shoanti mage for a Gnomish hero, the weapon may gain additional powers as it is used for greater deeds.

Shadow’s Thirst

Shortsword, rare (requires attunement)

You gain a +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls with this adamantine, magic weapon. You can cause it to become sheathed in flickering shadows; when active, whenever you hit with an attack, the target takes an extra 1d6 thunder damage. This doesn’t make any sound, as it actually absorbs the noise of its impact, and the target is momentarily silenced while touching the blade (this is sufficient to muffle any screams from the blow, but not to prolong inability to communicate or cast spells).

The shadowy flickering of the blade allows you a retroactive feint: if you miss with all attacks made with the weapon this turn, you regain the action used to make the attacks. You cannot use the regained action to make attacks (but may use it for other actions in combat).

Crafted by a Shoanti mage for a Gnomish hero, the weapon may gain additional powers as it is used for greater deeds.

Sightstealer

Longbow, rare (requires attunement)

You gain a +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls with this magic weapon. You can cause any ammunition it releases to be sheathed in coruscating energy; when active, whenever you hit with an attack, the target takes an extra 1d6 damage. All damage from the attack is treated as Piercing, Lightning, or Radiant, depending on which would do the most damage to the target. When you critically hit with an attack made by this weapon, the target is Blinded until the end of your next turn.

This bow has a mostly-dormant Runeforged Dominant enchantment. When you critically hit with an attack made with this weapon, any target that is a Transmuter wizard or has the Shapechanger trait must make a Constitution saving throw (against a DC of 8 + Your Proficiency Bonus + Your Charisma Modifier) or be Paralyzed until the end of your next turn.

Crafted by a Shoanti mage for a Varisian hero, the weapon may gain additional powers as it is used for greater deeds.

Adornments

Belt of Hellish Perfection

Wondrous item, very rare (requires attunement)

This wide belt is made of a chain mesh of a variety of precious metals, each large link scribed with subtle runes of speed, strength, and health.

The belt has 8 charges. While wearing it, you can use an action to expend 1 or more of its charges to cast one of the following spells from it with yourself as the target: Cure Wounds (1 charge), False Life (1 charge), Enhance Ability (2 charges), Lesser Restoration (2 charges), Protection from Poison (2 charges). You may spend an additional charge when casting a spell from the belt to gain advantage on rolls to maintain Concentration.

The belt regains 1d6 expended charges daily. There is no ill effect for exhausting its available charges (though you cannot spend more charges than it currently possesses).

This belt is actually created by ancient, giant-sized creatures, for whom it was meant as a gorget, and is too large to serve as even a belt for small creatures or medium-sized creatures with narrow hips. The runes are foreign to the magic of Avistan, looking vaguely Tien in construction, and it is likely that this was ornamental war regalia for a powerful creature whose inheritors may want it back. The wearer can understand Tien speech, but not speak it, and can detect the presence of nearby Kami as an incessant, inarticulate whispering. The links regularly exchange positions when not being looked at directly, forming odd shifting patterns and glyphs in the rings of differently-colored metals.

Belt of the Claimer

Wondrous item, legendary (requires attunement)

The wide, golden buckle of this belt is inscribed with Thassilonian runes, particularly those of Greed. Its leather is made from the skin of the first Rune Giant. While wearing the belt, you gain advantage on any saving throws you make to resist any hostile spell of the Transmutation school. It absorbs any coins the attuned owner places into it, and can return them at need, and can hold up to 1,000 coins in this manner with no additional weight (this does not count as an extradimensional space).

The belt has 10 charges. While wearing it, you can use an action to expend 1 or more of its charges to cast one of the following spells from it with yourself as the target: Jump (1 charge), Longstrider (1 charge), Alter Self (2 charges), Enlarge/Reduce (2 charges), Levitate (2 charges), Spider Climb (2 charges), Fly (3 charges), Haste (3 charges), Water Breathing (3 charges). You may spend an additional charge when casting a spell from the belt to gain advantage on rolls to maintain Concentration.

The belt regains 1d6 expended charges daily. There is no ill effect for exhausting its available charges (though you cannot spend more charges than it currently possesses).

A symbol of power of Karzoug the Claimer, many who see it may be afflicted by a greed for the item and the status it represents, causing them to challenge the bearer for it. The wearer can hear the faint sound of a chiming bell when an onlooker is about to attack to claim the belt, granting Advantage on Initiative.

Bindings of the Black Monk

Wondrous item, rare (requires attunement)

This fifty-foot long, foot-wide ribbon of silk was manufactured by the ancient Therassic monks, and still bears subtle embroidery with images from their school of martial arts, though it has darkened to near-black over the ages. It can be easily wrapped around the body and stays in place, forming loose clothing as placed by the wearer. The wearer has advantage on all rolls to escape a grapple, as the cloth automatically detaches and slips from hostile grasps to make it hard to get a grip upon the wearer.

The unarmed damage of the attuned wearer increases by a die size (to a d4 if the wearer does not otherwise have a source of unarmed damage). An attuned wearer who has access to Ki gains an additional point.

The ribbon is practically unbreakable, and can be used as rope to climb, tie up an opponent, lash objects together, and the like. It automatically releases when desired by the attuned owner, or when no part of it is within ten feet of the owner.

Boots of the Rune Law

Wondrous item, legendary (requires attunement)

These understated sandals are made of intricately-embroidered silk, with the pattern detailing, in Thassilonian, the entire legal system of Xin. When worn and attuned, you gain advantage on saving throws against any Enchantment effect designed to compel you to take an action that is illegal (including any Geas not applied as a properly mandated punishment).

When you are in a direct and immediate foot chase to pursue a fleeing fugitive, you cannot be slowed and ignore difficult terrain.

Additionally, they function similarly to boots of Elvenkind, Speed, and Striding and Springing:

  • Your steps make no sound, and you have advantage on Dexterity (Stealth) checks that rely on moving silently.
  • When you use the Dash action, your walking speed is doubled for the movement granted by that action, and attacks of opportunity against you have disadvantage on the attack roll.
  • Your walking speed becomes 30 feet if it is not higher, and cannot be reduced below 30 feet by encumbrance or armor. You can jump three times the normal distance (though not further than your remaining movement would allow).

Due to its use in the legal system of Thassilon, the attuned wearer gains an intuitive understanding of the legal system of that ancient land, granting Advantage on any relevant rolls. The sandals never get dirty.

Cloak of Xin-Shalast

Wondrous item, legendary

Converted from the robes of Karzoug the Claimer, this deep-green cloak had its magic refocused for the use of non-wizards. While wearing it:

  • You gain advantage on all saving throws against spells.
  • You gain advantage on Dexterity (Stealth) checks made to hide (it changes colors to blend into its surroundings).
  • You gain resistance against Cold. After you take Fire, Cold, Lightning, or Necrotic damage, the resistance of the cloak changes to that energy type until you take a short rest or you take another kind of energy damage (after a short rest, it reverts to Cold resistance).
  • You can always breathe, even underwater or in locations where there is no air.

By tightly wrapping the cloak around yourself, you may pull yourself and your carried possessions into an extradimensional space. The cloak collapses onto the ground. It is dark inside, and you can hear faintly in the outside world. Because you can always breathe, you are in no danger of suffocating. Whenever the cloak is disturbed, you are dislodged from the plane and refill your space, wearing the cloak. You can exit the plane at will, wearing the cloak in its current space.

Those who recognized Karzoug may recognize this cloak as a symbol of his power, and some may take offense at the alterations to it. The material never gets dirty, and is made of some strange transmuted material that grants it many of its properties.

Hellknight Plate

Plate, very rare (allows attunement by a Hellknight)

This suit of plate armor is made of adamantine: while wearing it, any critical hit against you becomes a normal hit. It is decorated with infernal ornamentation designed to intimidate criminals and enemies of Cheliax.

When attuned and wearing the armor, if you have been invested with the authority to wear it by the Hellknights, you have resistance to Fire and gain the benefits of the Devil’s Sight warlock investment (you can see up to 120 feet in darkness, even if it is magical).

Celestials will find the presence of this item repulsive. Even moral bearers are provided a subtle temptation to wickedness by the infernal emanations of the armor, which tends to make even the most fair-minded Hellknights overzealous in the enforcement of their duties. This is not helped by the fact that the armor also bolsters the bearer’s self confidence.

Artifacts

Sihedron Tome

Wondrous item, artifact (requires attunement)

The first Sihedron Tomes were said to have been crafted by a dragon in the service of Emperor Xin. Each of these books has a unique appearance, and hold an infinite number of pages for spellcasters to inscribe spells upon.

The book may only be opened willingly by its owner, and closes inevitably when it leaves the immediate presence of its owner. It can only pass on to a new owner when the old one is slain, or willingly gifted. Unless gifted, the knowledge stored in the book is forever locked away, perhaps destroyed, for its later owners.

It comes instantly to its owner’s hands when summoned, and can cross any space or dimension to do so. It cannot be teleported away so easily, of course, but is so secure that its owners rarely think much about leaving it around.

Any spellbook-using spellcaster who prepares spells from a Sihedron Tome, which potentially holds libraries worth of arcane knowledge, may prepare three additional spells (or five additional spells if no prepared spells are of schools that oppose any other in the Sihedron diagram; e.g., Divination plus up to three adjacent other schools).

Greed (Transmutation) – Sloth (Conjuration) – Envy (Abjuration) – Lust (Enchantment) – Pride (Illusion) – Wrath (Evocation) – Gluttony (Necromancy)

Major Beneficial Property: While attuned to this artifact, you can’t be Blinded, Deafened, or affected by Feeblemind.

Minor Beneficial Property: While attuned to this artifact, once per day you can use an action to cast Comprehend Languages.

Minor Detrimental Property: While attuned to this artifact, any spells you scribe into any other books or scrolls besides this tome immediately fade into illegibility. You may tear pages from the book to create scrolls, but they are recovered into the book whenever you summon it (you must tear them out again, but not recreate them) and will disappear upon your death like its spells.

Tattoo Magic

Mark of Wrath

Tattoo, very rare

This faintly-glowing tattoo-like rune of Wrath upon your forehead allows you to cast Fire Shield once per day. Additionally, upon your next turn after taking damage, if you hit the target that dealt that damage, you may expend a hit die as a free action to add that die to your damage total (the die only, not the Constitution modifier).

Order of the Scourge Investment

Tattoo, very rare

You may expend one hit die to generate the following effects (requires the listed type of action):

  • Vigilance: As an action, you gain truesight for one minute, and Darkvision to 60 feet (if you do not already have Darkvision). While this is active, you can get a vague sense of any threats in a room on the other side of a wall or door you are touching.
  • Onslaught: As a bonus action, until the start of your next turn increase your speed by 10 feet, gain advantage on Strength checks and Strength saving throws, and 1d10 to melee damage rolls.
  • Wrack: As an action, make a melee attack roll to touch a target. If hit, the target takes 1d10+Cha Modifier Psychic damage and must make a Constitution saving throw (DC based on your Charisma) or be Stunned for one round.

Therassic Tattoos

Tattoo, very rare

You may use an action and expend one or more hit dice to generate the following effects (to a maximum of half your hit dice spent on a single effect):

  • Heroism: You are immune to being frightened and gain temporary hit points at the start of each of your turns. The temporary hit points gained are equal to the hit dice you expended. This lasts for one minute and does not require concentration.
  • Fireball: You throw a ball of fire that explodes at a point within up to 150 feet. It has a radius of five feet for every hit die expended (to a maximum of 20 feet). Each target in the radius takes 1d6 damage per hit die expended (Dexterity saving throw for half). The difficulty of this save is based on your Charisma.
  • Fire Shield: You wreathe yourself in hot orange flames or cold blue flames (chosen at the time of activation) that shed bring light in a 10-foot radius and dim light for an additional 10 feet. These flames last for one minute per hit die expended, and this does not require concentration but can be cancelled early if desired. While active, you have resistance to Fire (for cold flames) or Cold (for hot flames). Whenever a creature within 5 feet of you hits you with a melee attack, the shield erupts with flame. The attacker takes fire or cold damage equal to the number of hit dice you expended (based on the type of flames). You also add this damage to your unarmed attacks (including damage dealt while grappling).

Tattoos of the Traveler

Tattoo, very rare

As an action, you may expend one hit die to cast Alarm, Detect Poison and Disease, Longstrider, or Speak with Animals.

Converting Pathfinder APs to 5e

Comments Off on Converting Pathfinder APs to 5e

I’ve been reading through the Angry GM’s stuff, particular his megadungeon series, and couldn’t help but think about how his spreadsheets for encounters per level per dungeon section might line up with the various Pathfinder adventure paths. That led me down a thrilling couple of hours banging away at a giant spreadsheet of my own comparing the encounters in an AP to the various XP and wealth progressions. I’ll start off with the rules of thumb, and get into some wonkery explaining my work afterward.

Converting Modules

First off, the bad news: there’s no 1:1 enemy conversion available.

There’s no way that 5e, with one Monster Manual, Volo’s, and a few other sources could approach the mass of opponent options in (at current count) six bestiaries, bonus monsters in every AP volume, multiple guides with NPCs, and the ability to attach class levels and templates to things. But even if they could, the math of 5e is just different for encounters than Pathfinder. For example, Pathfinder considers 12 zombies a level 6 encounter, while 5e considers them a level 5 encounter (and awards XP like a level 3 encounter, because 5e adds a difficulty premium for lots of monsters taking actions).

So you’re going to have to basically rebuild every encounter in the AP with the closest equivalents (of existing monsters or ones you custom make) that meet a new XP target.

But at least the math for doing so is relatively straightforward, since the expected encounters per level in Pathfinder is not that far off from the expectation in 5e.

Most Pathfinder adventure path modules include a target CR at the start of every room or encounter, which may be made up of multiple enemies of lower CRs within the text itself. Simply rebuild the room as a medium encounter of that level. Remember to apply the correct multiplier for multiple opponents.

For treasure awards:

  • Convert most magic items to their cash value (possibly as art) or consumables.
  • Grant half of all of the cash (including that from converted items). For example, if the encounter has printed loot of 100 gp, 300 sp, and a 500 gp value item, it instead gives 50 gp, 150 sp, and a 250 gp value art object (or consumables).
  • Only the most interesting magic items get converted to 5e equivalents. For those, try to give them a value equal to half their Pathfinder value based on the rarity values on page 135 of the 5e DMG. For example, a +3 equivalent shield is worth around 9,000 gp in Pathfinder, so gets translated to a strong Rare item or a weak Very Rare item in 5e (which, in this instance, checks out).

Expected Equivalencies

While the XP awards keep 5e characters within spitting distance of Pathfinder characters, it’s not perfect. In particular, 5e‘s first two levels go by much faster than Pathfinder‘s, while fifth level lasts much longer.

You can expect that:

  • Player characters will hit 2nd level significantly sooner than the AP intends, and will hit 3rd level around the time the AP planned for them to hit 2nd level.
  • They’ll be around a level ahead at all times until the module expects them to hit 5th level.
  • At that point, it starts to swing a little bit, but the PCs will usually be a few encounters behind where the AP expects them to be until 12th level.
  • They hit 12th level at pretty close to the exact right spot, then are close to in sync for the next couple of levels.
  • They pull ahead at 15th, and will pull further and further ahead as time goes on, to the point of hitting 20th level when a Pathfinder character would be early in 18th level. For most APs this won’t matter much, but you might want to pull back encounter budgets further past 15th level (or feel more free to skip non-plot-critical encounters).

The Wonkery

I made a long sheet with every encounter from the Mummy’s Mask AP, with a running total of XP per party member (for a four member-party) and a level lookup to make sure that the awards tracked where the modules suggested they should be. They did, and were usually pretty damned precise (almost as if the APs are created by carving up each level as an XP budget for each section of each module…).

Initially, I looked at just handing out 2/3 of the Pathfinder budget for each encounter, and that tracked as well or better until 10th level, when the XP charts diverge too much. Converting the encounter’s CR from the module to an equivalent 5e encounter somewhere between Easy and Medium created the best correspondence with the easiest-to-remember and process rule of thumb. By just targeting Medium, but assuming that there will be an overall loss of XP because of the difficulty multiplier for multiple enemies, it should be easy to remember how to convert without having to do any averaging yourself.

For treasure, I did a much less thorough comparison, and just looked at the stated Pathfinder wealth by level compared to the expected cash equivalent 5e income derived in this thread. I noted the suggested starting magic items for higher-level characters on page 38 of the DMG, and assumed those were relatively close to what you’d be expected to find in play, adding their value to the cash totals (it winds up only counting for about 15%).

The comparison of Pathfinder to 5e wealth has a ton of swing in it, but it gets pretty close to 50% for the last two tiers. Functionally, for the first tier the PCs will find a lot more wealth than the DMG expects (since Pathfinder frontloads more treasure), but there shouldn’t be a big enough difference by 7th level to justify a more complicated method of recalculating the AP’s treasure. It’s already going to be annoying enough to look up the value of minor magic items to turn them into cash prizes. Since I didn’t look super deeply at how the APs award magic items, I imagine that figuring out what to convert to cash and what to replace with a 5e equivalent will be more art than science.

Items of the Hedge

Comments Off on Items of the Hedge

We’re 15 sessions into my Beyond the Wall game at this point, and I’ve given out enough treasure that it’s time to reflect on my itemization rules as well as include some significant treasure that my players seemed to really like.

Minor Items

At this point, I’ve given out most of the example weapons on the minor weapons post:

  • They found a Blood Drinker axe buried in an ancient battlefield. They’re so creeped out by it that they might opt to not use it even if someone was a primary axe user.
  • I think they now have five or six Coffin Nails in various states of discharge (and one is currently pinning down a revenant at a crossroads, so it’s not really available). The primary user is the party rogue, who seems to enjoy managing the monthly discharge/recharge cycle now that he has enough of them that a budget of uses is a realistic thing to consider.
  • They found a Commoner’s Holdout knife at some point, and I’m not sure they remember they have it when it’s useful. Honestly, they don’t get seriously injured enough to make the trigger condition frequently available. Maybe I should try to change that…
  • The Landless Noble’s Family Weapon was a big help earlier in the campaign, when they stumbled on a demon that could only be hurt by magic. Overall, the infrequency of magic weapons seems to have helped keep magic-vulnerable monsters special for longer: because most enhanced weapons aren’t technically “magic” it makes the ones that genuinely are more special.
  • They recently got a Hedgecutter under less-than-ideal circumstances (off of the corpse of one of their higher level NPC allies who they’d had to kill because he’d been vamped). They haven’t gotten to use it to actually travel through the Hedge, but will soon, and probably would have loved to have it a few sessions ago when they had to run and hide from a Shambling Mound.
  • No Sidhe Swords have come into play yet, though they’re on the hex map to be discovered. The Fae Foundling in the party would probably love to get her hands on one, though she is normally a ranged combatant.
  • They recovered a Siegebreaker fairly early on (well, stole it from goblin storage and are hoping the owners don’t notice it). It’s being used by the Gifted Dilettante (rogue/mage), who shouldn’t really be in melee at all but, if he’s going to be, he might as well swing a really big weapon. He doesn’t actually connect with it all that often, but does seem to enjoy the option of smashing through doors and walls like the Kool-Aid man.

I believe I’ve also given out a couple of other weapons using the same minor weapon rules: a bow that is extra harmful against beasts, some arrows with one ability each, and Siegekeeper: a longbow that’s Magic and extra effective (Penetrating and Warning) against soldiers of their rival empire.

Overall, I’ve been pretty pleased with the minor weapon rules: keeping the players from chasing pluses allows them to use weapons that fit their styles.

I’ve also given out quite a few of the items from the minor items post:

  • I believe that most of the main PCs have, at this point, at least one reroll item. I seem to remember putting in play items of Cantrips, Hunting, Perception, and Rituals. Most of them are one charge per day, and I don’t see them get used that often (mostly because those checks are so good for the bearers that failure is unlikely).
  • An item of Warmth and one of Sustenance have come into play and are interesting curiosities, but haven’t been used to great effect yet. In particular, the Chalice of Sustenance (turns liquid put into it into a satisfying meal) has picked up a bad connotation of “Dysentery Chowder” after the bearer experimented with “I wonder if it can turn this awful sewer water into a meal?”
  • The single-charge Belt of Stoneskin has already saved the Gifted Dilettante’s life twice (though I think I need to pay more attention to making sure he declares activating it up front rather than as soon as he takes a big hit). It’s probably the MVP of items so far.
  • The rogue seems to really enjoy the Gem of Seeing in principle, but hasn’t gotten much actual use out of it.
  • They just got an item of Protection this past session which may also find a lot of use. The item of Regeneration is currently in the hands of a character that doesn’t get injured much, but she seems glad to have it in the event that she does get injured.

Ultimately, the minor items aren’t getting used nearly as much as I expected, but the players seem to enjoy receiving them and figuring out how to distribute them to take advantage of party roles and number of fortune slots for each character. I’ve begun handing out items with more than one charge per day, which may increase their overall utility.

Significant Items

The following items are named treasure, mostly with strong links to the game backstory. Like the other items, they don’t carry pluses, just modular effects. They ought to port over fairly easily as items for D&D; feel free to add the enhancement bonus of your choice in that case.

The Ancient Crown

This crown is suspiciously non-magical, particularly coming from the long-dead ruler of a magically potent ancient empire. For certain, it’s valuable enough: it would be an extremely good find for a low level party just taking it apart for its platinum and gems. As an art object, it’s worth even more.

But the real potency of the crown is in its political weight. The inheritor state of the ancient empire craves trappings of legitimacy. A long-lost crown could be enough to elevate a minor claimant to the national stage, by brokering a deal to give it to the current rulers or treating it as proof of a previously significant bloodline. Simply handing it over to a friendly noble NPC to deal with should be a major quest reward, and trying to figure out how to use it for themselves could be a campaign-spanning PC goal.

Beyond the purely mortal parties that would love to get their hands on such a valuable item, there is also the question of immortal interest. Faeries, demons, and other such beings have a great use for items that are important even if they aren’t technically magical. What rituals could they wreak upon the fabric of the empire with such a token of rulership? They’d probably go to great lengths to find out…

The Anydress

In some ways little more than a toy, this dress is woven of glamour by a skilled faerie tailor. For most fae, it’s a long-term savings on fashion. For shapeshifters and other infiltrators, however, it can be a vital tool of the trade…

When unworn, this looks like a simple shift of nice but unremarkable fabric. When donned, however, it adapts to properly fit anyone of roughly humanoid size and shape, and transfigures seamlessly into a dress appropriate for the wearer and the environment. On the streets of the merchant district, it’s fashionable but not ostentatious. In the bad part of town, it seems respectably plain. And at a royal ball, it’s festooned with gems and needlework.

Obviously, none of this lasts if separated from the item, and it can sometimes have its own whimsical interpretation of what’s appropriate rather than strictly appearing as the wearer desires. But, unlike many such faerie crafts, it’s remarkably durable and can last indefinitely without deteriorating or losing its powers.

A little known component of the dress’ whimsy is also the ability to tune into times of significance. For example, if curious adventurers were to try on an ancient crown while wearing the Anydress, it might give them a hint as to what might happen if they claimed the crown by adapting to reflect what kind of ruler they could become.

Wælcyrie’s Raiment

This suit of leathers is fitted for a woman and extremely well made. It features dozens of long, dagged strips hanging from the mantle and skirt. It is strongly magic (for any effects that interact with magic on armor), ghost touch (spectral entities cannot bypass its AC bonus), and grants +2 to saving throws the wearer makes against the attacks of any kind of undead or spirit. The strips writhe in the presence of ghosts, even unmanifested/invisible ones.

If a ghost can be convinced to voluntarily grasp one of the strips, it becomes infused into the armor. It is always considered to be in Protective stance: the ghost will interrupt and take the next hit against the wearer. Most ghosts can only take one such hit before being discorporated; more powerful ones may be able to take multiple hits, and may grant additional abilities to the wearer while infused. Discorporated ghosts seemingly pass on for good. The armor can support multiple ghosts at once; generally the one that has been infused the longest will be the one that takes hits.

Græfenrót Banner

This silken banner was seemingly wielded by the outriders of the Wælcyrie. The horses of any allies under the banner suppress their natural fear response to undead, and even mundane horses can keep up with supernatural horses within the cavalry.

When grasped by someone with authority over mindless undead, those undead will never attack allies of the bearer within sight of the banner, even in the bloodlust of battle. The bearer and all allies within sight of the banner gain +4 to saving throws against any mental (fear, charm, etc.) effects generated by undead/ghosts.

Allies slain within sight of the banner always leave a weak and somewhat confused ghost (which will usually pass on at sunrise unless infused into the Wælcyrie’s Raiment), which is generally still friendly and will continue to fight beside its original allies if it can be effectively directed. This effect may intensify other necromantic auras, causing the fallen to rise as physical undead instead of ghosts.

Older Entries